The Electrical Blog

3 Safety Threats of Poor Building Lighting

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Jan 07, 2015

Think about the feeling you get when walking in a dimly-lit area at night. Chances are that you feel less than 100 percent safe. And this uneasy feeling happens for a reason - crimes like violent assault and theft from vehicles are often associated with dimly-lit areas. By installing and maintaining adequate outdoor business or home lighting, you can help reduce the risk for threats like the following:

1. Vandalism and property damage. The Colorado Springs Police Department frequently suggests
increasing the quality of outdoor business or home lighting to help protect against crimes like vandalism. If potential offenders can be seen, they are less likely to inflict damage on your property.

2. Theft. Insufficient outdoor lighting is often a key factor in security breaches that result in home, vehicle or business thefts. Proper lighting helps to keep your valuables in their proper place.

3. Injury. In addition to crime, poor light can also contribute to injury. A lack of lighting in areas like stairwells or balconies can result in slips and falls.

Even if the outdoor areas of your home or business are well-lit at night, maintenance is also critical. “If you a photocell problem or your motion sensors aren’t working properly, Berwick Electric can help you out with that,” Project Manager Terry Schneider said. “And with the shorter daylight hours during winter months, adequate outdoor lighting is even more important.”

For more tips on choosing outdoor home lighting, check out this article from

If you’re looking for trustworthy, excellent electrical service for all of your lighting needs, we encourage you to contact Berwick Electric Co. 

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Topics: Service Department

Electrical Safety: Three Outdoor Christmas Décor Safety Tips

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Fri, Dec 05, 2014

During this season of lights, you’re most likely decorating your home or office building with joyful colors and lights. While you’re creating a festive atmosphere with décor, we encourage you to keep electrical safety first with these simple tips from Berwick Electric Co.'s service department project managers.

1. Don’t overload a circuit. One of the simplest decorating tips to keep in mind this time of year is to avoid plugging too many outdoor lights into one circuit. “Overloaded circuits cause breakers to trip,” Project Manager Terry Schneider explained. “Avoid this common mistake by using multiple circuits to feed your outside lights.”

2.  Use proper extension cords. When you’re decorating outdoors, you’re most likely going to need an extension cord to plug your lights into an outlet. “It’s important to use a proper rated extension cord,” Project Manager James Rockhill said. “Avoid old, worn-out extension cords. Also, avoid placing light connections in areas that accumulate water, such as gutters.”

3. Replace old light strings with LED lights. “Because LED light strings are more efficient than older lights, more strings of lights can be plugged together,” James said. “This reduces the need for multiple outlets.”

So go ahead and brighten the season with the warmth of vibrant holiday lights and décor!

Do you have any other outdoor decorating safety tips for this time of year? If so, we encourage you to share them in the comments box below.


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Topics: Service Department

Scenic Work: The Broadmoor Fishing Camp

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Oct 22, 2014

The scenery of the Lost Creek Wilderness is well known for its red peaks, bright skies and the snow-fed Tarryall River. Home to what will become the new Broadmoor Fishing Camp, Berwick Electric Co.’s (BEC) electricians are currently enjoying this beautiful setting as they work on the camp’s electrical installation.

“This unique project involves the renovation of an old, rustic cabin and lodge complex that was most recently known as the Ute Trail River Ranch and featured in some Park County history books,” Project Manager Mark Norman explained. “It is located about 20 miles north of Lake George, Colo., on Park County Road 77, near the Lost Creek Wilderness Area.

The Broadmoor Hotel recently purchased the property with plans to offer guided fishing trips and rustic stays for those seeking a memorable and adventurous outdoor experience. “We are working under Beckrich Construction on this interesting renovation project,” Mark said. “Beckrich is doing a great job maintaining the historic, rustic look of the complex, while performing some additions, upgrades and modernizations to the property.”

As the electrical contractor, BEC is upgrading the electrical service and distribution to 11 buildings, including a main lodge with dining and cooking facilities, seven basic cabins, a bath house, fish house and maintenance building. “We will be installing new lighting to match the décor of existing lighting and upgrading the branch circuit wiring as needed,” Mark explained. “One of the original electrical panels in the Lodge building was sold by Sears Roebuck & Company!”

Working alongside Project Manager Mark Norman is Foreman Tobi Collins, with installation assistance from BEC Electricians Eric Norman and Tom Meeker.

“It is a privilege to be part of this unique and challenging historical preservation project,” Mark said. “We are anticipating completion sometime in November, weather permitting.”

We invite you to take in the beautiful surroundings of this project by scrolling through the photos below. Photography was provided by the talented Emily Brumley of M Photography. Emily's work has been featured in publications like Destination Weddings, Honeymoons Magazine and Runner’s World Magazine. You can contact Emily at or (719) 660-7496.

Fishing Camp 1 Fishing Camp 2
Fishing Camp 3  Broadmoor Fishing Camp 4



Topics: Project Updates, Service Department, Community

A Peek Inside BEC’s DataComm Department

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Oct 15, 2014

Berwick Electric Co. has a wide variety of electrical service capabilities, and that means that our customers come to us for their many electrical needs. Today, we have the pleasure of spotlighting our Data Communications (DataComm) department, led by Shane Gebbink, Paul Brumley and Dave Beck. Keep reading to learn more about datacomm, and click play on the video below to view photos from some of BEC’s recent datacomm projects.

What is DataComm?

Short for data communications, datacomm refers to the systems that transmit data to and from computers and components of computer systems. This type of communication is transmitted through wires, coaxial cables, fiber optics or radiated electromagnetic waves such as broadcast radio, infrared light, microwaves and satellites. Datacomm is an integral foundation of the way we communicate in today’s world.


Unique Challenges and Innovations

BEC’s datacomm department enjoys meeting the demands of their work with creative solutions. “We are constantly challenged with finding solutions that meet our customers’ needs,” BEC DataComm Manager Shane Gebbink explained. “There are always a lot of parts to juggle with any project, and we aim to please everybody who is involved.”

In addition to juggling various aspects of a project, BEC’s datacomm technicians also enjoy keeping up with the latest technology. “I enjoy the constant enhancement in technology - we have come so far in such a short time,” Shane said. “This makes us think about the future more. The field is always evolving,” he added. “One recent trend is ‘cloud computing’, and it is not going away. We are also seeing DAS, or distributed antenna systems, becoming part of our scope of work. These enhance cellular and emergency broadband in buildings.”

A Reputation of Excellence

When it comes to providing excellent service, BEC’s datacomm department is known for going above and beyond. “One thing that sets us apart is our experience. Our technicians are Building Industry Consulting Services International (BICSI) certified. BICSI publishes standards, guidelines and reference manuals for use in the design, installation and integration of information technology systems,” Shane explained. “Additionally, our technicians are long-term employees; we are committed to the trades.”

“Berwick Electric CO. is a reputation electrical contractor,” Shane emphasized. “Our reputation and relationships will be here after each project, and we strive to keep both in excellent condition.”

Need excellent electrical service? Click here.

Topics: Data Communications, Service Department, Community

Working Outside the Box: Devil’s Head Fire Lookout

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Sep 24, 2014

Unless you’re a pilot, chances are that you don’t regularly use a helicopter in your day job. Recently, BEC electricians got to work “outside the box” on an electrical upgrade project at Devil’s Head Fire Lookout, the last remaining manned U.S. Forest Service fire lookout tower in Colorado, located at the summit of Devil’s Head in Douglas County. 

BEC Electricians enjoyed a variety of unique challenges with this project. Because the job site is only accessible by foot or rotor wing aircraft, the team used a helicopter to fly tools, equipment and materials in and out of the job site. In addition, communication through normal channels was limited, and preconstruction coordination was essential. Further, the team often worked in the rain to complete the project on schedule.

“A big thank you to Lucas, Brian Riggs and Josh Maul, whose efforts on the coordination were absolutely integral to the success of this project. We would also like to thank Rampart Helicopter Services and RGC Group, Inc. Due to the logistics associated with remobiliztion, Brian Riggs and Lucas actually spent three nights camped at the job site." Project Manager Andrew Maestas said. ”There were many late nights and early mornings for these guys, and without their willingness to go above-and-beyond, this project and projects like it would not be possible while maintaining the exceptional quality of service for which Berwick Electric Co. is known."

You can catch some of the highlights by clicking play on the video below.  

To learn more about the work BEC does, click here.


Topics: Project Updates, Service Department, Community

Berwick Electric Co. Honors Public Safety Employees

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

Berwick Electric Co. has a long history of serving the community, and we strive to recognize others who do the same.

When a woman and two small children were stuck on the third floor of a burning building, brave firefighters from the Colorado Springs Fire Department hurried to pull the woman and children to safety. Colorado Springs Fire Department firefighters involved in the rescue include Driver Engineer Neil Raedel, Firefighter Luke Magistrelli, Lieutenant Mark Romero, Driver Engineer T.J. Bopp, Firefighter Nick Cruz and Firefighter Derek Smith.

We are pleased to honor these public safety employees, and we encourage you to join us in honoring them by watching the video below.

Topics: Service Department, Community

A Peek Inside BEC's Service Vans: Bringing You Excellent Service

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Sep 10, 2014

Have you ever spotted a Berwick Electric Co. service van driving around town? If you live in the Colorado Springs area, chances are that you have. BEC’s service drivers respond to a wide variety of electrical needs, including large and small residential and commercial jobs.

Today we invite you to take a peek into one of our service vans, driven by BEC Electrician Buddy Lowther. Buddy has been in the electrical industry for 15 years, and he genuinely enjoys what he does! Buddy takes pride in his work, and likes getting to know the wide variety of customers with whom he interacts on a daily basis. As you will see in Buddy’s van, BEC’s service vans are fully stocked to meet a wide variety of electrical needs. Click on the photos below to take a tour of Buddy's service van.

When it comes to delivering great service to our customers, quality, safety and integrity are Berwick Electric Co.’s top priorities. To request service, click here.

Topics: Service Department, Community

Why You Should Reconsider DIY Electrical Projects

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Fri, Aug 29, 2014

It’s easy to see why DIY, or do-it-yourself, home projects are so appealing; we all want to save time and money. And while saving time and money are certainly important, safety should be the ultimate priority. Today, Berwick Electric Co.’s  safety manager Bill Tuten shares top safety pitfalls for DIY projects, and why you should consult an expert. Stay safe and read on!

image of electrical wiring
Safety should be the first priority of any electrical project.

1. Lack of knowledge. It seems that there are “how-to” resources for just about everything these days. But just because you can “Google” something or look up a quick how-to video on YouTube, that doesn’t mean you are equipped to carry out the project alone. “DIY projects are very popular right now,” BEC Safety Manager Bill Tuten explained. “However, even the DIY television channel stresses the importance of consulting a professional. Although you may think you are fixing the problem, you may in fact be solving the wrong problem,” he added. “You want to approach any DIY project with a professional knowledge base.”

2. Working on an energized circuit. The first step in any DIY electrical project is to de-energize the circuit you are working on. Again, this is where professional knowledge comes in. “Before working on an outlet or any kind of wiring, it’s important to test and make sure that it is, in fact, not live,” Bill explained. “It is possible to accidentally turn off the wrong breaker, so you want to double check before working. A voltage tester can be used to check whether or not an outlet is still energized. Also, the breaker box needs to be secured. Communicate to family that the breaker box should be left alone throughout the duration of the project. Lock it out if you can.”

3. Working on an unsecured ladder. Many homes have vaulted ceilings or elevated outdoor light fixtures, requiring a ladder to reach and repair them. Although it seems obvious, ladder safety bears repeating. “Never stand directly on top of an A-frame ladder. Only step up to the second ladder step from the top. Warning labels are on the top and one rung below the top that says, ‘NOT A STEP,’” Bill said. “You should also always make sure that a ladder is secure before using it, as well as ensure that you are using the right ladder for the task at hand. Never use an all-aluminum ladder when working with electricity. Wood or fiberglass ladders are the safest to use when working with electricity.”

4. Ignoring electrical code. Although some jobs, such as finishing a basement, may seem simple, it’s important to make sure the electrical work is done to code. “If you don’t know the codes, or the work isn’t done to code, you could end up dealing with overloaded circuits,” Bill explained. “And this could lead to a fire hazard situation. Always consult with an electrician about how many amps your home has and what you can and can’t do. You may need a power upgrade in order to continue the project safely.”

5. Not grounding properly. If your project involves underground cabling, call a professional. “It’s imperative that projects with underground cable are properly grounded. Often times, people want to run an underground cable from the source to a barn or workshop outside of their house,” Bill said. “First, call a professional to do the locating. A professional should also be consulted about the proper type of cable and grounding. Most DIY-ers don’t know about grounding. If grounded properly and something does go wrong, the grounding directs the electricity into the earth, so that you don’t get electrocuted. Grounding is important.”

We hope that these DIY safety concerns have convinced you to consult a professional before starting any home project. To consult with a qualified Colorado Springs electrician or request service, call 719-632-7683. You can also request service online here.
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Topics: Service Department, Community

FPE Panels No Longer Insured by Home Insurance Companies

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Thu, Aug 14, 2014

Does your home have an electrical panel manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric (FPE)?  

After receiving reports that FPE panels failed to comply with Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) requirements, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) began an investigation to determine the safety of these panels. Because the investigation did not produce enough data to conclusively determine the safety of FPE panels, the CPSC closed its investigation in 2011.

Image of FPE Panel
An FPE Panel

Even so, most home insurance companies will no longer insure homes with FPE panels, which can be a major problem. If this is you or somebody that you know, Berwick Electric Co. offers free estimates for the installation of a new panel, new interior or a possible retrofit.

In the meantime, the CSPC advises that consumers take the following safety precautions with all circuit breakers and fuses*:

1) Panels should be labeled indicating what outlets, lights or appliances they control.

2) Never overload any electrical circuit by connecting too many products to the circuit. Be particularly careful not to connect several products that demand high current (such as heating appliances) to a low-amperage circuit.

3) Comply with local building codes in wiring or adding electrical circuits. Make sure the wiring and devices used in the circuit are connected to a circuit breaker or fuse of the proper size.

4) Immediately disconnect any electrical product if problems develop. Have the product examined by a competent repair person.

5) Investigate to determine why a fuse blows or breaker trips; it is often a warning that the circuit is overloaded. Check the circuit for causes of overloading (for example, too many appliances plugged in, a malfunctioning product, a short circuit). When in doubt, consult a licensed electrician.

If you would like information about updating your electric panel, give us a call at 719-632-7683 or request service online. We are happy to help!

*Excerpted from the CPSC press release #83-008. To read the full CSPC press release, click here; or, to read an article about recognizing hazardous electrical panel conditions, click here.

Topics: Service Department, Community

Employee Spotlight: Meet Drivers Josh & Jake

Posted by Tonia Nifong on Wed, Aug 06, 2014

Quality, safety and integrity are core values here at Berwick Electric Co. (BEC), and we are pleased to spotlight the employees who integrate these values into what they do every day.

Today we invite you to learn more about BEC Warehouse Drivers Josh Maul and Jake Koster, who deliver much-needed materials to a variety of jobsites throughout the Pikes Peak Region.  Whether the jobs are commercial, industrial or datacomm, BEC’s warehouse drivers help us to provide you with excellent electrical service. Read more below.

Image of BEC Warehouse Driver Josh Maul
Driver Josh Maul

BEC: Are you both Colorado natives?
Josh Maul (JM): Yep, I’m originally from Colorado Springs.
Jake Koster (JK): I was born in Maryland, but I’m from a military family. My dad was stationed here in Colorado Springs and retired here, so I pretty much grew up in the Springs.

BEC: If someone were to follow you around in your job for a day, what would a typical day be like?
JM: Well, it’s very straightforward. We pick up supplies and other job materials and then deliver them to jobsites. We typically visit an average of three to four jobs every day. We spend a lot of time coordinating deliveries and in the car.
JK: That pretty much sums it up. I help Josh out all day.

BEC: What do you enjoy about your job?
JM: I really like being out and about. No two days are exactly the same.
JK: Same here. I really like not being inside all day. I also really like the people that I work with; I really like getting advice from them, because I’m young.

Image of BEC Warehouse Driver Jake Koster
Driver Jake Koster

BEC: What are some things you like to do outside of work?
JM: I like to do anything in the mountains. I enjoy hiking and biking. I also volunteer with the fire department, and I really enjoy that.
JK: I enjoy working out, long-boarding, playing video games and going on dates with my girlfriend.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about our drivers. They are an integral part of the work we do, and we are pleased to have drivers with such great work ethic!

If you are looking for trust-worthy electrical service, call us at (719) 632-7683 or click here to request service online.

Topics: Service Department, Community